Cable minus 1

Issue Date: 
July 1997
Story Title: 
The Devil’s Herald!

James Robinson (writer); Ladronn (penciler); Juan Vlasco (inker); Glynis Oliver (colorist); Ricard Starkings & Crowquillcraft (letters); Mark Powers (editor); Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

After a brief introduction by Stan Lee, the story opens to a day several years ago. Moira and her ward, Rahne Sinclair, are on their way to Stornoway by boat, after Moira receives word that there is some sort of trouble in the city. Once the two arrive, they quickly find the cause of the disturbance, Reverend Craig is up to his old tricks again, and this time his target is a recently arrived mysterious stranger, dressed in weird garb and unable to speak English. Moira attempts to save the man from being lynched, however it all proves unnecessary as the man suddenly uses his mental powers to change everyone’s perceptions of what as going on. Moira recognizes the man’s ability as possibly being mutant, and brings the stranger back to Muir Island. Once there, Moira begins to run tests on the man, but the test cause the stranger to go into convulsions, and his mechanical arm suddenly starts growing tentacles and grow their way into her equipment. The lab explodes, and Moira is just about to be squished by heavy debris when the man suddenly jumps in to save her, using telekinesis to shove the debris aside. The stranger uses his telepathy to learn English from Moira’s mind, and he quickly explains himself and his mission in this era. Meanwhile, the stranger’s arrival has resulted in Apocalypse’s awakening in this era.

Full Summary: 

Stan Lee, in Cable’s costume, is slashing his way through the comic page with a large knife, introducing himself in the process. Stan goes on to try to briefly explain Cable’s rather confusing backstory, while at the same time showing a rather humorous bit of attempting to pick up Cable weaponry, which should be physically impossible.
The story opens in on Moira MacTaggert and her ward, Rahne Sinclair, traveling by boat to the city of Stornoway in Scotland. Moira had received word from Angus MacWhirter that some sort of trouble was brewing so she decided to investigate. After arriving, Moira finds out from MacWhirter that there is a stranger in town, and that Reverend Craig is exciting the populous with his speeches of fire and brimstone. No sooner do Moira and Rahne get to town than they find Craig has organized a lynch mob against the mysterious stranger, who is dressed in oddities and some sort of armor, and unable to speak English.
Craig is quick to call him the devil’s herald, exciting the crowd even further. Moira quickly jumps in to protect the stranger, stating that the man could just as easily come from up above rather than down below. Craig reluctantly agrees, but all illusions are thrown out the window when one of the onlookers touches the stranger’s mechanical arm, and is surprised to find the metal alive.
Fearing that the crowd is now in a killing frenzy, the stranger uses some sort of mental projection to alter their perception of the actual events. Instead of Moira and Rahne protecting a weirdly dressed stranger, they are introducing a fine and respectable gentleman to Reverend Craig. Moira, is of course, confused by everyone’s sudden change of mood, and as the crowd disperses, the Reverend Craig politely reminds Moira that he expects to see her and Rahne in church the next Sunday.
Later, back at Muir Island, Moira suspects that there is much more to the stranger than meets the eye, and has brought him with them to further examine him. For the first time the stranger seems to be at peace, but in actuality the man is deep in thought.
He remembers a battle which occurred long ago, as he was leading a pack of rebels against the forces of the Canaanites in a huge and terrible battle. The stranger does battle with a particularly huge Canaanite, and slays him with his sword. However, the “Askani’son” as his fellow troops calls him, is suddenly caught in an explosion, but he emerges from the fire…his battle not yet finished.
In the present, a tear comes to the stranger’s eye. Concerned, Moira brings the stranger into her lab, and then proceeds to introduce him to a series of tests. She places him into a sensor array which she had been working on in order to examine him further. However, as soon as she activates the system, the stranger suddenly goes into convulsions, his mechanical arm suddenly flares outward like a tree sprouting roots, directly into the machinery around him. Moira attempts to shut down the machine, to no avail, and she rushes to his side to help remove him from the sensor. There is a feedback and the machinery suddenly explodes sending Moira crashing to the floor. Moira barely recovers when she finds herself in even more danger, and a huge chunk of metal debris threatens to crash down on top of her, crushing her to death.
Suddenly, the stranger jumps to her aid, using telekinesis to shove the falling debris out of the way. However, the effort appeared to weaken the man event further.
Moira leans down to check on him, when suddenly the man looks up and connects their mind for a split moment. Moira becomes frightened by the experience, but the man quickly speaks to calm her, stating that he is sorry. Moira is now surprised that the stranger can speak English, at which point the man explains that he learned it from Moira’s own mind while they were in rapport. He explains that he is from the future, and that he traveled back in time to make contact with a man named Xavier, whom his history speaks of his great importance in this era.
Moira, of course, knows of Xavier and offers to help the stranger get in contact with him. The stranger, however, is in no hurry…stating that if anything, all he has is time. He explains that while he was within her mind, he learned of her son, but promises to keep it a secret. When Moira asks if the stranger has a name, the man said he had many.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, lost somewhere deep in the mountains, there is an Egyptian temple carved out of the side of the mountain. Inside, a tomb opens, and a shadowy figure emerges. The figure is named Apocalypse, and his equipment has awakened him after detecting the stranger’s temporal shift through time. Apocalypse wasn’t due to emerge from stasis for another century, but the stranger’s arrival changed that…in a way making Reverend Craig correct. Cable was the Devil’s Herald.
As the story ends, Stan Lee end caps the story, and once more attempts to pick up one of Cable’s huge guns, which brings about “The Ever-Lovin’ End!”

Characters Involved: 

Cable / Nathan Summers

Moira MacTaggert

Rahne Sinclair

Angus MacWhirter
Reverend Craig

Angry Lynch Mob
Apocalypse / En Sabah Nur

Stan Lee / as Himself

In Cable’s memories

Members of the Clan Chosen

Members of the Canaanite Army

Story Notes: 

Flashback month, as was called, was an attempt to relate pre-origin stories which occurred before the first issue of that particular history of the character or group of characters. They brandished silver age style titles, and cover pages, as well as an enlarged Comics Code on the front cover. The letters page even resembled those from that era.

All Flashback stories were opened and closed by Stan Lee, and this one has him ripping through the first page of issue #45. Though the narrative is exactly the same, it’s drawn by Ladronn, but when issue #45 actually came out, the issue was drawn by Randy Green.

Though never actually called so in the story except by Stan Lee in the beginning and end, the mysterious stranger is none other than Cable…hence the story in the book bearing his name…duh!

Rahne Sinclair has yet to develop her mutant abilities, her first appearance is actually in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 along with the rest of the original New Mutants, however chronologically this would be her first appearance, her next would be in Classic X-Men #2 and then finally in Marvel Graphic Novel #4.

However, her presence doesn’t make much sense. Rahne didn’t become Moira’s ward until after her mutant powers developed. Before that she was Craig’s ward and had hardly any contact with Moira.

Angus MacWhirter appeared in Uncanny X-Men #104, when the X-Men rented one of his hydrofoils to travel to Muir Island, when it was destroyed by Magneto he blamed Moira and attempted to sabotage her Research laboratory. Angus met his end at the hands of Proteus who possessed him shortly after [#119].

Reverend Craig has a nasty habit of forming lynch mobs; his favorite target becomes Rahne Sinclair after she develops her mutant werewolf abilities. Later, Rahne manages to deduce that Craig is her father

Muir Island is the privately own chunk of rock just off the coast of Scotland, and the place where Moira had built her research center in conjunction with Xavier’s school. Though it had remained a secret for many years, the island eventually became the base for a few X-teams later on, including the Muir Island X-Men, as well as Excalibur. It was eventually destroyed during an attack by the Brotherhood, which resulted in the death of Moira as well.

The mountainside Egyptian temple in Switzerland that Apocalypse resided in would be the same as the one the members of the Hellfire club attempted to raid in Cable #52

Cable’s early adventures continue in the Wolverine / Cable: Guts and Glory one-shot, which chronicles his first trip to New York.

This book features a 4 page preview of Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1 at the end.

Issue Information: 
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